There’s nothing more satisfying that eating something delicious that you’ve grown yourself. At WEN, that’s basically our mantra! We believe that growing your own food is a guaranteed way to improve your diet, health and happiness, as well as reducing your expose to harmful chemicals found in pesticides. Eating seasonal, locally grown food also has vast benefits for the environment too, reducing the air miles of your food and decreasing your carbon footprint. Our seasonal food series shows you how to make the most of the fruits of the season in easy and delicious recipes.
Nothing says ‘Goodbye summer, hello September’ like something warm, cinnamony and appley. I love apples (who doesn’t?!), and in terms of growing your own they are pretty perfect. They are very very low maintenance and, subsequently easy to grow. (I can personally attest to this. My parents bought their current house about eight years ago, when I was thirteen. What we inherited from the previous owner was a very unruly, overgrown apple orchard. My parents were able but undoubtedly amateur gardeners, and so, at least for the first few years, the apple trees received very little attention. Somewhat miraculously, perhaps, they still produced A LOT of fruit, and we are still completely over run with apples- not that anyone’s complaining!)
Of course, if you are a city dweller (like me now), having an apple orchard is a bit of a tall order (one certainly wouldn’t fit on my three foot deep balcony!) But you could easily plant an apple tree in an allotment or community garden if you had access to one- and one tree will certainly provide you with plenty of fruit for the whole autumn season.
If you are thinking about planting an apple tree, it is best to chose a sun-drenched spot. Dig a hole no deeper than the roots, but up to three times the diameter of the root system. Place the plant in the whole, then fill in soil all around the roots to eradicate any air pockets. Pack the soil in firmly.
Apple trees do need to be pruned, and the best time to do that is between November and March, once the tree has stopped producing fruit and before the first buds arrive.
Cake topped with Cinnamon Apples
For the cake:
120g self raising flour
120g caster sugar
20g brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees, and grease and line a cake tin.
Mix the flour, sugars, cinnamon and butter together until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Gradually pour in half the milk and mix until combined.
Beat the egg into the remaining milk, then add the vanilla extract. Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture and mix well. Spoon the batter into your cake tin and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the cake feels firm and springy to the touch and the top is slightly golden brown.
While the cake is cooling, make your topping.
For the apple topping:
2 cooking apples
4 tablespoons caster sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
knob of butter (about a teaspoon)
Peel the apples and cut them into wedges. Place in a saucepan over a medium to low heat. Add the sugar, cinnamon and butter and leave to stew for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally. You want the apples to soften and a sugary juice to form.
Once the cake is cool and the apples soft and sticky, spoon the apples over the top of the cake. Make sure to get all the juice too- it’s delicious and you want it to seep into the cake.
The perfect antidote to cold weather and shorter days!